The Ultra Cheap IEM Thread



I’m almost certain it’s a driver-flex issue.

Whether it’s endemic to the design, or just the way they fit/seal in my ears, I’m less sure about. That @pwjazz is experiencing it (if seemingly to a lesser degree) suggests it’s just how they are. But the variability I’m seeing makes me wonder how much of an issue it will be in a broader context - given the different level of seal people will get with variations in ear-canals, tips, and so on.


Here’s a comparison of the ZS7 with a few other IEMs (diffuse field compensated).

  • Compared to the HF5, the Chinese IEMs are all clearly v-shaped.
  • Compared to the QT2 (my chi-fi reference), the ZS7 is a bit bassier, has more presence, similar mid treble and more upper treble extension. The big difference is that it eliminates the peak at around 10.5 KHz that mars the QT2’s otherwise good sound.


I didnt know the Etymotics HF5 had that big of a drop off in treble. I never listened to it, but I am interested in getting a set of Etymotics in the future.


They don’t sound like the measurement looks, I’d take it with a grain of salt. Overall they’re pretty balanced sounding but definitely a bit lean/bright. Not sibilant or zingy though.


Do you have the Tinaudio T2? Similar but with less bass.


Thanks. I am definitely not a salesperson and I am not participating in any affiliate program.


Great work @pwjazz. I love your measurements and tinkering. It’s really good of you to share with us.


I have not tried the T2, one of the concerns often quoted is a lack of bass. Another one with a similar sound to the V2 is the Artiste DC1 (1DD+piezo tweeter). It’s definitely worth a try.


Yinyoo V2 – Another Review

Pros: Satisfying bass; sturdy build quality; 2-pin connector; good value.

Cons: The strong bass is a matter of personal preference.

Executive Summary

The two-DD (dynamic driver) V2 is a well-built and well-balanced, and an overall solid performer that caters to listeners who prefer a warm, mature sound with a beefy low end.


This is my first review on this forum. It started over at Head-Fi last April when an aliexpress seller exchanged a faulty earphone out of warranty and jokingly mentioned I could review it – that was the Tinaudio T2. So far, I have reviewed 19 items retailing between $8 and $88 – and most of them were supplied to me for a symbolic fee/essentially free. Hoarding freebies will eventually constitute a conflict of interest imo – especially when the review units are getting more expensive. I therefore decided to give most of my review units away (the few I am still holding on to for now are either heavily modded or I am still waiting for filters to improve their sound) and am presently looking for a local charity to put them to good use.

This particular review unit was sent to me by Yinyoo’s aliexpress store. They contacted me, and before I could find a home for the review, I had received it (Yinyoo are banned on Head-Fi for alleged review tinkering – or, so I speculate, for not buying a sponsorship). Therefore, I could not negotiate terms with Yinyoo such as including a return envelope and would like to pass it on to good use, primarily to someone who cannot afford such an earphone. The alternative would be to add it to a loaner program to be sent around and being enjoyed by as many as possible. Dear admins, please contact me if you have an idea (postage without the box within Canada is a reasonable $1.80).

The regular price of this earphone is $49 , but members will get it for $39 through their aliexpress store. Send me a PM if you want to know how to do that – no affiliate link involved.

Frequency response curves: the measuring coupler was two pieces of plastic tubing on the end of a Dayton iMM-6 microphone. No compensation or smoothing was applied. These measurements should not be directly compared to other measurements except those done on the same device, for example the ones I have posted before.


The Yinyoo V2, a single DD (10mm) with a unique dual diaphragm, suspiciously looks like the neutralish tuned and well-respected Tinaudio T2. It appears that Yinyoo try to offer a warmer alternative to listeners who found the T2 too neutral, analytical, and sterile sounding – and I will show in the following whether this works.

You will find the specifications on the company’s site (link below). The V2 comes with a detachable 2-pin cable and a selection of rubber tips, of which the largest worked well for me. I listened with my iPhone 5S and covered a whole cross section of music including naturally produced sounds by string and wind instruments.

The earpieces are made of metal (and are lighter than the T2’s…and comfortable) and the 4-core cable is of good quality. No concerns here. In terms of fit and seal: these can be worn with the cable down or above/around ear. Fit and isolation are fairly standard for such a cylindrical design.


In terms of sound, the V2 does offers a warm, balanced sound with a pronounced low end that is well extended into the sub-bass. The sub-bass is not overly focused and the bass sensu stricto has an intermediately fast decay. Factoring in its healthy punch, you get a satisfying listen (like a bouncing tennis ball). This low end also adds warmth to the overall image. As a consequence of the prominent bass, the lower midrange is somewhat recessed: vocals are a bit back but they have a good, warm timbre. The bass also bleeds a bit into the mids but that is expected. The upper midrange is elevated which adds definition. The treble extension is ok (but not the greatest around) and has enough sparkle. There is no sibilance and other unwanted harshness.

Soundstage is good class average, not too deep, and the prominent bass prevents it from being larger. Clarity, resolution, layering and instrument separation are all good but slightly diminished by the strong bass.


The trick question is how the Yinyoo V2 holds up against its older stepbrother Tinaudio T2 (which is heavier and features the unreliable MMCX connectors…I am already on my second pair as mentioned above).

OK, the biggest difference is the more minimalistic and more focused “audiophile” bass in the T2 which many didn’t like. The T2 offers a more forward lower midrange with slightly softer and more organic voices. In comparison, voices in the V2 are sharper defined and a tinge brighter. And the treble in the T2 is more extended. In terms of soundstage, the T2 offers slightly more width and depth – and therefore a better sense of space – because of the lack of bass interference. However, all these differences (except in the low end) are only nuances that play essentially no role in everyday listening – and should neither be a dealmaker or deal breaker.

I used the V2 during my commute. What worked well was the bass counteracting the low-frequency street noise that is hard to filter out even with a good seal. That’s where bassy earphones shine.

Last but not least, I taped the T2’s front vents off and compared them to the V2. The frequency response remained the same above 400 Hz, however there was much energy to bass and sub-bass added.

Comparing the taped T2 with the regular V2 also yielded a surprise as their frequency responses below 1.3 kHz are virtually identical, but I find the taped T2’s bass boomier and also more and overly powerful.

Concluding Remarks

In summary, the Yinyoo V2 is a great alternative to the established Tinaudio T2 for bass lovers. While there are differences in the midrange and treble between the models, these differences are small enough only to be relevant for analytical listening but not for everyday use.

But the V2 is also a safe alternative to the many multi-drivers in this price range that may suffer from unwanted treble peaks and artificial sound from their balanced armature drivers and half-baked crossovers.

You can purchase the Yinyoo V2 here:


Oh…and soon I may have my own blog…working on it.


That is a very good review and I agree with your findings. I do feel that the treble is a little more extended than you found, but that could be due to different source equipment and material. One of the V2’s strengths is the open and expressive midrange and detail retrieval. By the way, the V2 is a single DD (10mm) with a unique dual diaphragm.
I have been reviewing for a few years now and I agree about having lots of review units lying around, I recently donated about 10 sets of IEMs and some Bluetooth speakers to my local cancer charity shop.


Yeah, there is subjectivity in every review. The V2’s treble is just fine but look at the comparison to the T2. In my reviews, I have always had the biggest issues with treble as it is fine to me so long as nothing peaks or peeps.

As to ethics: I found a showcase with ten reviews of the Campfire Audio Atlas, and each reviewer had received a “free sample”…total retail value of $12990 (and some of these do assembly-line reviews).


a small part or quantity intended to show what the whole is like.

And the disclaimers about honesty, own thoughts etc. are painful to read. Fact is that most $1300 won’t be a disaster and that honesty is stretchable, grading seemlessly into diplomacy (and is then referred to as “professionalism” by the reviewer).

Strictly no bs from me in this respect.


Next on the agenda is the single DD Pioneer CH3…which I purchased myself on sale @ $24 CAD.


In regards to ethics around reviews - specifically as they pertain to how one is coming by the gear under review, and under what terms the review is being conducted/written, then as long as the appropriate disclosures are in place, I don’t personally care.

Such disclosures are legally required, at least in the US, at this point.

I can say that a review with the disclosure “I was given this unit in exchange for a fair and honest review” carries a lot less weight with me (personally) than one that based on “review unit is on short term loan from XYZ” or better still is a result of getting gear via a preview/loan program organized by someone other than the manufacturer or a personal purchase at retail (i.e. not from a manufacturer with an incentive/accomodation/discount in place).

People doing lots of reviews, or impressions, etc. should ping me for access to our formal guidelines, policies and requirements and template document on this. It covers everything from requirements around pictures, coverage, measurements, links/referrals and, of course, disclosures.

Consider this a general comment, as I’m not seeing any specific issue here - just keying off the mention of “ethics”.


Yes, I also find the treble the most problematic area, as you say, poorly-tuned BAs and dodgy crossover networks can ruin the sound of hybrid IEMs. Single drivers have a coherency difficult to achieve with multi-driver models.
$1300 is a lot of money. I wonder what the manufacturer expects in return and worry about the integrity of the recipients.


As with all pricing, the retail price includes research/development, parts, manufacturing, labor, and MARKETING costs all built-in + profit margins + shipping/distribution costs etc. So what I’m getting at is, they already budgeted the cost of sending review samples out to specific magazines, blogs, and websites as part of their marketing cost — which will be built-in to the final retail price.

In other words – you, the customer, are eating up the costs of their samples. :slight_smile:

just my guess.

Also, the cost of a dozen samples is nothing if they get free marketing and returns in sales they would not normally. I’m sure they’re all doing fine as they are still in business and making new products.


Yes and Yes! If reviewers only review loaners, the manufacturers or dealers still get a lot of free advertisement and therefore increase their profit. The reviewer has cost for running their blog. The right balance has yet to be found.

For me, not keeping (most of) the stuff is a personal thing. Yep, I would be interested in getting the latest Campfire or similar stuff - and keep all of them - worth $$$$$. Sweet. But is that right while writing there was no financial incentive? I personally would never spend that much money on an iem.

I am known to be unfiltered and had indicated in my disclaimers that I had purchased the item for 10 cents. A few people didn’t like that. On the other hand, I would never write such blabla about honesty - it is obvious when you read between the reviews’ lines.

While there are very competent reviewers out there who go through a lot of iems, I occasionally ask one of them whether there is an iem rivalling his favourite - which is not evident from the numerous reviews. Cutting the crap provides useful information and helps my buying decision.

I have followed a few qualified reviewers over time and see more and more how they increasingly hang on to the sweet fruit.

The guy from ZMF headphones writes on sbaf:

“…I do want to address this as there is a fairly standard practice in the industry and I do abide by it. When we send out review units I specifically tell the reviewer that they can keep the review unit for x amount of time, I provide a return label or pay for the return shipping, and tell them after the review if they end up wanting to keep the headphone or buy a unit we can discuss it after the review and only after the review. Then when it is discussed every reviewer gets the same discount…”

I say: “Let’s keep it at that!”


On the the next iem - I just unpacked this Pioneer CH3 single DD microdriver which I got on sale from ($24 CAD). I don’t really want to advertise for this outfit, but they sometimes have crazy deals out of the blue.

The CH3 was recommended over at sbaf.

Haven’t dedicated them much time yet, but they surely are no bass guns.


I still don’t understand why people got upset that you were 100% transparent about how you came into the possession of review samples. How is that any worse than reviewers who are given sample products for free?
I agree that the ideal review arrangement from an ethics standpoint is a loaner unit/tour situation. My issue with review tours, which I’ve done a number of, is that they often don’t give you enough time. For products like DAPs, which I review primarily for UI, features, and compatibility, 15 days is adequate. For headphones it’s not enough for detailed impressions, at least for me.


Is your graph compensated or is it the raw data from your mic? Assuming it’s compensated?


Nope, raw data, mic and soundcard are calibrated:

Frequency response curves: the measuring coupler was two pieces of plastic tubing on the end of a Dayton iMM-6 microphone. No compensation or smoothing was applied. These measurements should not be directly compared to other measurements except those done on the same device, for example the ones I have posted before.